Get in line online – Apple busts the traditional queue

It’s no secret that Apple has been a long-standing customer journey champion. With an in-store experience that many can only aspire to, the tech specialist’s approach to new product launches always seemed to contradict the rest of its operations.

Granted, winding queues of tech-hungry consumers stretching around the block made for great column inches in the press and fuelled demand, but was it the best solution for the consumer and the in-store team? Given recent developments, it seems we all agree the simple answer is no.

So, what’s the new approach? Online orders and scheduled 15-minute appointments for an opportunity to try on different models with specially trained employees on hand to explain all the features.

This shift according to media reports, is as of the direct result of a new policy under Angela Ahrendts, who left the helm of British luxury giant Burberry last year to run Apple’s retail stores.  A leaked memo acquired by Business Insider shows Apple’s retail chief Ahrendts instructing staff members to encourage customers to order online instead of visiting their local Apple Store on launch day:

“The days of waiting in line and crossing fingers for a product are over for our customers. The Apple Store app and our online store make it much easier to purchase an Apple Watch and the new MacBook. Customers will know exactly when and where their product arrives. This is a significant change in mindset, and we need your help to make it happen. Tell your customers we have more availability online, and show them how easy it is to order. You’ll make their day.”

It would seem that the overinflated buzz created by people waiting hours, sometimes days, to purchase a device and the shortages that may have made the products seem more desirable, may finally be over. There’s change afoot, and now, tangible evidence that increased efficiency in queue management is paramount to the Apple brand.

According to the Business Insider article, the key takeaway here is that Apple doesn’t want to be unable to fulfill demand or leave its customers frustrated. And while the line may look like a fun activity to do with friends, introducing new smart technology by making people wait for it in rain, cold temperatures, sitting up overnight curbside is well, not smart.

Apple stands to vastly benefit from this new approach to queue management by:

  • Matching skill staff to customer needs
  • Creating a more personalized experience
  • Having the ability to forecast resources
  • Increased efficiencies/revenues
  • Customer satisfaction and reduced walkaways
  • Delivering a truly seamless omnichannel online/in-store experience

We here at Tensator applaud Apple for taking the next step in the evolution of the customer journey.  It only makes sense to introduce amazing cutting edge wearable tech by embracing a new generation of queue management: virtual queuing and appointment-based product introductions and services. Introducing amazing new technology deserves better.

The Apple Watch is a smartwatch – that marks time and increases your ability to leverage the benefits of mobility right from your wrist. Waiting in line for a smartwatch, that promises the benefits that mobility extends – of being connected and able to do more faster would be ironic.

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